Balmoral Castle has been one of the residences for members of the British Royal Family since 1852, when the estate and its original castle were purchased privately by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria. They remain as the private property of the royal family and are not the property of the Crown. Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the British Royal Family ever since.
The Balmoral Estate has been added to by successive members of the Royal family, and now covers an area of approximately 50,000 acres of heather clad hills, ancient Caledonian woodland and the beautiful River Dee is nearby. It is a working estate, including grouse moors, forestry, and farmland, as well as managed herds of deer, Highland cattle, and ponies.
From early April until the end of July each year the Castle and estate are open to the public. After which the Royal Family arrives for their annual stay.
It costs £11.50 for adults to enter the castle grounds, which includes a map and audio guide (£5 refundable deposit for headset) The tour takes around 1-2 hours to complete, following the laid-out path, starting at the Carriage Hall where there is a display of Royal carriages and working carriages. Then it is on to the stables which house the Royal Families collection of Land Rovers.
Then you are guided through the vegetable and flower gardens where organic gardening is practised with the flowers, fruit and vegetables used to feed the Royal Family and decorate the castle.
From there it was on to the pretty Garden Cottage. Originally occupied by a gardener it was later used as an isolation hospital for Queen Victoria's Lady in Waiting who developed scarlet fever in 1864. After that Victoria herself liked to use it. Look through the windows as the rooms are still set up as were (this will be the most you will see of the Royal rooms).
Then marvelling at the Castle, itself, you head towards the sunken gardens which Queen Victoria overlooked from her bedroom, before heading inside the castle to the Ballroom - the only area visitors can see within the castle walls. Here you can view a range of paintings, china, silverware, porcelain, art works and other interesting items from the Castle.
After wandering the gardens and land you can enjoy a cup of tea in the café, if you would like a little more adventure you can take a Safari Tour which takes you around the manicured parklands and gardens and through the estate farm and forest.
£11.50 (parking included)
Open early April until the end of July
Open 10am- 5pm (last entry at 4.30)
£5 deposit for audio guide. (refundable on returning handset)
How to get there
Located near the village of Crathie (also visit Crathie Kirk, where the Royal Family go).
6.2 miles (10 km) west of the town of Ballater.
6.8 miles (11 km) east of the town of Braemar.
Balmoral Estates, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, AB35 5TB, Scotland